London Borough of Merton
Fairer Contributions Policy
Section Title and Contents Page number
1. Introduction to the policy 2
2. Principles of the Fairer 2
3. Services and customers not 2
covered by the Fairer
Services covered i.e.
intermediate care, services
Customers not covered i.e.
Section 117, terminally ill
4. Merton Managed Accounts 3
5. Operation of the Fairer 4
6. Calculating the contribution 5
How assessments are
carried out and who will be
Income, savings and
Disability Related Expenses
A Income Disregards
B Reviews and Appeals
C Disability Related Expenses policy
D NAFAO DRE policy
1.1 Local Authorities have discretionary powers to charge adults receiving non-
residential social care services under Section 17 of the Health and Social
Services and Social Security Adjudications Act 1983.
1.2 Merton Council’s Fairer Contributions Policy has been designed to comply
with the Department of Health’s Fairer Contributions Guidance, issued in
July 2009 with an updated version issued in November 2010. It supplements
the Fairer Charging Guidance issued in 2003.
1.3 The Fairer Contributions Policy will be used when calculating an individual’s
contribution to their social care package, including their personal budget
allocation or traditional social services.
2. Principles of the Fairer Contributions Policy
2.1 Customers will receive a personal budget for their social care based upon
their assessed needs, as validated by a Council officer. They will be expected to
contribute to their budget according to their ability to pay.
2.2 Contributions are calculated following a financial assessment, and will be the
lower of their assessed contribution and the value of their personal budget.
2.3 Customers will be informed of their contribution when they are given an
indicative budget allocation, before they start working on their support plans.
2.4 No services within the remit of the Council’s Resource Allocation System and
Personal Budgets will be subsidised. This is so that customers will have full
choice when deciding where to spend their personal budget, and so that there is
fairness between those who have gone through the self directed support process
and have a personal budget and existing customers still receiving traditional
2.5 Customers whose income is below basic levels of Income Support plus a
25% buffer will not be expected to make a contribution.
2.6 Merton Council will carry out a welfare benefit check on every customer at
the time of assessment to ensure income maximisation.
2.7 Unless specifically mentioned in this policy, all other circumstances that may
arise will be dealt with in reference to the treatment of them within Charging for
Residential Accommodation Guidelines (CRAG).
3. Services and customers not covered by the Fairer Contributions Policy
3.1 Long stay residential and nursing care stays will continue to be charged using
Charging for Residential Accommodation Guidelines (CRAG)
3.2 Respite care in a registered care home will not at this time be covered with a
personal budget. This will continue to be assessed using CRAG.
3.3 Community equipment and minor adaptations will not be included in this
3.4 Customers receiving services under Section 117 of the Mental Health Act will
be exempt from charging.
3.5 Users suffering from any form of Creuzfeldt Jacob Disease (CJD) will be
exempt from charging.
3.6 Intermediate and reablement care is free for a maximum of 6 weeks.
3.7 Terminally ill service users who require intensive care from palliative health
and social services staff for either rehabilitation during or following treatment, or
who wish to remain in their own homes to die, will not be charged for this service.
The duration of this service is usually up to 6 weeks and a review of the care plan
would take placed at this time to determine whether there is a need for this
service to be extended.
3.8 Carers services delivered direct to carers, not the cared for, will not be
3.9 No charge will be payable by any customer who receives funding from the
Independent Living fund, as they are already required to make a contribution to
3.10 Mascot will continue to be assessed separately.
3.11 Meals on Wheels will continue to have a flat charge and be kept out of
3.12 Transport will continue to be charged at a flat rate charge and is currently
not included in personal budgets. This will be reviewed.
3.13 All other services within personal budgets will be charged for using this
4. Merton Managed Accounts
4.1 A Merton Managed Account is a new service to give customers the
opportunity to access their personal budget via a direct payment, through a
supported and managed financial service. It will run in conjunction with pre-paid
cards. Pre-paid cards are cards that are loaded with funds and then given to the
customer who is then able to spend their personal budget to purchase their
4.2 Customers who are assessed as having a need for this service will be
financially assessed using this policy, and money will be allocated into the
personal budget through the Resource Allocation System.
4.3 For those customers who have not been assessed as having a need for the
service but still wish to purchase it will be charged the full cost:
A £5 set up admin fee (which will contribute towards the cost of the pre-
paid card) and then £15.75 a month plus VAT.
A fee of £19.95 plus VAT for one-off services or if customers will just
require things such as setting up payments from the off set and then will
take the responsibility over for their finances.
5. Operation of the Fairer Contributions Policy
5.1 Customers choosing to have their personal budget via direct payments will
receive a payment less their assessed contribution.
5.2 Customers choosing to spend their budget on council commissioned
services, where they retain more control of arrangements with the care provider,
will be requested, wherever possible, to pay their assessed contribution to the
5.3 Customers spending their personal budget on services directly provided by
the council or arranged by the council will usually receive a four weekly invoice
for their contribution, which can be paid by Direct Debit.
5.4 Customers assessed as able to contribute to their services will be required to
make a financial contribution up to the whole amount of their personal budget
subject to their financial assessment.
5.5 If the financial assessment works out the customer contribution to be less
than £3 per week, the customer will not have to contribute towards their personal
5.6 Where a customer does not pay the amount required, debt recovery
procedures will apply. Where customers fail to pay their contribution into their
personal budget account, their needs will be reviewed and a risk assessment
undertaken. Where adverse risk is identified the customer may be considered no
longer eligible to receive their personal budget as a payment.
6. Calculating the contribution
6.1 Customers will be asked to complete a financial assessment form detailing
their income, savings and expenditure. Customers will be offered a home visit to
assist with the form and carry out a welfare benefit check.
6.2 If a customer does not wish to have a financial assessment, they will be
expected to contribute the full amount of their personal budget.
6.3Customers may refuse to co-operate with a financial assessment. If they
choose to do so they will be required to contribute the full amount of their
A customer will be deemed as refusing to co-operate with a financial assessment
if, without good cause they do not adhere to the following timescales.
The customer must contact the Financial Assessment Team within 14
days of issue of a Financial Assessment Form (FC2A). Failure to do this
will be deemed as refusal to co-operate with a financial assessment and
the customer will be required to contribute the full amount.
If the customer has contacted the Financial Assessment Team or returned
the FC2A within 14 days of issue but further information or documentation
is required (such as proof of income and proof of expenditure), this must
be provided within 28 days of date of original issue of the FC2A. Failure to
do this will be deemed as refusal to co-operate with a financial
assessment and the customer will be required to contribute the full
The Financial Assessment Team will telephone the customer 7 days after
the FC2A has been sent out to check the progress of completion and will
offer a further home visit.
Refusing to co-operate with booked home visits.
6.4 Income, savings and outgoings
6.4.1 Further information on income, including how different benefits are treated
and what is disregarded, are included in Annex A.
6.4.2 Information on savings is included in Annex A.
6.4.3 Information on outgoings and Disability Related Expenses are included in
6.5 Where one of a couple is receiving a personal budget, the financial
assessment will be undertaken on an individual basis. This is unless a couple
assessment would favour the customer, in which case a couple assessment will
be carried out. In cases where both parties are customers, individual
assessments will still be made. The customer’s spouse or partner is entitled to
choose not to disclose their financial circumstances. However, if Income Support
or Pension Credit is paid at the couple’s rate to either member of the couple this
must be disclosed.
6.6 Where a customer spends their personal budget on two paid carers at the
same time, they will be expected to pay the full charge of both carers up to their
maximum contribution as calculated in the financial assessment.
6.7 There will be no maximum charge: customers will pay up to the value of the
personal budget subject to their financial assessment.